The UK work permit panel have come under increasing criticism after their denial for USA striker Juan Agudelo.
The FA appointed panel has been slammed, particularly after failing to produce an explanation for their ruling.
The Sentinel says behind the scenes the Premier League has been critical of the Agudelo decision, while other top-flight clubs fearing a similar outcome have also questioned the appeal failure.
Agudelo, who is a free agent after his contract at New England Revolution expired, was due to officially join Stoke on a free on January 1.
Manager Mark Hughes has already said last month's application failure could cost Stoke £10m because of Agudelo's potential and future market value.